Robert Bosch: Entrepreneur, Citizen, and Philanthropist

Robert Bosch: Entrepreneur, Citizen, and Philanthropist

Robert Bosch's life and work are inextricably linked to his entrepreneurial success. Born in Albeck near Ulm on September 23, 1861, as the eleventh of twelve children, Bosch was anything but a "typical" entrepreneur.

He attended secondary school in Ulm from 1869 to 1876 and then completed an apprenticeship as an precision mechanic. He spent the next seven years working for various companies in Germany, the USA (Edison), and Great Britain (Siemens). He wanted to go to the USA, which he regarded as the motherland of democracy, and his experiences there and in Great Britain would decisively affect the corporate culture of his company. In 1886, Robert Bosch founded the "Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Elektrotechnik" (Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering) in Stuttgart. In the following years, it developed into an international corporation.

Robert Bosch began to make his mark in the early years of the 20th century with his ideas on entrepreneurialism and philanthropy and with his political commitment. He wanted to make a contribution to society as a citizen and founder. The donation of one million Deutschmarks to the Technical University of Stuttgart in 1910 marked the beginning of his career as a philanthropist. In the aftermath of World War I and the postwar political turmoil, he became a committed adherent and promoter of the Weimar Republic. He supported the German Federation for the League of Nations and the founding of the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin. He opposed National Socialism and supported resistance activities in the "Bosch Circle." He was equally committed to reconciliation between Germany and France, and this issue remained at the core of his lifelong political commitment.

Robert Bosch died on March 12, 1942, and was buried at Waldfriedhof Cemetery in Stuttgart.